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Using Social Media

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t ignore the unstoppable rise of social media. Most of us use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with friends and let the world know what’s happening down our end of the street, but there is another way you can use social media: as part of your job hunt.

More and more people are finding jobs by tweeting, facebooking and…er…linkedin-ing. Most job hunters now have profiles on LinkedIn and many people use Twitter and Facebook to look for jobs. However, it’s not just job hunters who are utilising social media; recruiters are getting in on the act too. A recruiter isn’t worth his/her salt unless they’re permanently plugged into LinkedIn. In fact, recruiters regularly scour the professional network, looking for suitable candidates to fill their job opportunities.

Many companies also have their own Twitter and Facebook pages, which they use to promote their graduate schemes and upcoming vacancies.

Stay LinkedIn…

Recruiters live, sleep, eat and breathe LinkedIn. The majority of recruiters use it as a tool to source new candidates, so if you’re looking for a job, the first thing you should do is create a LinkedIn profile.

If you've never used LinkedIn and want to find out more about it, check out this video now!

LinkedIn is the ultimate social media tool for job hunting. It’s the professional online tool for networking and you’d be mad not to have a profile on it. You basically upload your CV onto it, populate your profile with recommendations and build up a network of contacts.

Make sure your profile indicates the kind of job you want and let people know you’re looking for a specific job by posting statuses to that effect. Your profile is the first thing people might look at when considering you for a job, so make sure it’s up to scratch.

It’s also a good way to see who your friends, family and acquaintances are connected to. You never know, they might be able to introduce you to someone in your industry of choice.  LinkedIn also has job postings and you can search for people by their company, which is an excellent way of finding out about the people who work at the companies you want to work for.

Tweeting to the masses….

Yes, you might be loath to join the ‘Twitterati’ and most people under 25 are firmly in the Facebook camp, but Twitter makes it a lot easier than LinkedIn to network with people you don’t know. Following is a lot more casual than connecting on LinkedIn; there’ll be no “er… why are you following me” moments.

If you've never used Twitter and want to find out more about it, check out this video now!

People often follow each other based on shared interests, so it’s a great way to connect with people in your chosen industry. Follow companies you’re interested in and influential members of the industry. Just tagging along for the ride isn’t enough though; make sure you get involved in discussions and debates and don’t be afraid to tweet at companies and influential people.

Watch out for breaking news and Twitter trends and make sure you’re one of the first to offer an opinion. If you do so, you’ll soon have others following you back. You can use the tool Twilert to set up alerts for certain keywords that will alert you to job opportunities or relevant discussions.

Above all, Twitter is a great way to look for jobs. Many companies and recruitment agencies post job opportunities on Twitter, so make sure you regularly search for jobs in your chosen industry. You can also reach out to companies on Twitter and enquire about jobs. However, do this sparingly and don’t send out a bunch of generic tweets.

Like LinkedIn, it’s all about paying attention to your profile. To use Twitter effectively, you need to make sure your profile includes a short biography, where you’re from, your real name, a good picture and a link to your blog, website or LinkedIn profile; that way people can find out more about you.

Facebook yourself a job…

Often, finding a job is all about who you know and that’s why Facebook can be really useful. Post a note (as it as it stays longer in your friends’ feeds) explaining that you’re looking for a job in certain areas and any help or leads would be appreciated. Whether you’re looking for a permanent job in marketing or just a casual job in the summer, people will always be keen to help; you’ll get by with a little help from your friends.

It’s also worth ‘liking’ company pages or any pages that are dedicated solely to recruitment programmes. Not only is this a great way to find out about job opportunities, but it’ll also help you to get a sense of the company’s culture and what they look for in potential candidates.

There are also groups for certain graduate schemes, school leaver programmes and apprenticeships, where you can discuss the recruitment process with other candidates. Quite often, previously successful applicants will weigh in to offer their own advice too.

Enter the blogosphere…

The blogosphere is also a viable social media option worth exploring. You can subscribe to blogs that have online job listings, and if you’re prepared to dedicate a lot of time and effort, you could create your own blog which focuses on the industry you’re interested in. You can then use your blog to link up with other influential bloggers.

A blog is a great way of building up a positive online image and some of the most successful bloggers have used their blogs to land themselves jobs and internships at top companies.

How social media can count against you…

Pictures of you dressed as half monkey, half chicken aren’t exactly going to impress recruiters. Some employers check potential candidates’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages and, if they don’t like what they see, they may not ask the candidate for an interview.

You have to become you own PR officer and hide or bury anything negative about you on the internet. That means de-tagging any dubious photos and using a simple, nice profile picture of yourself. You might want to make sure your Facebook profile is set to the optimum privacy setting. Sift back through your recent status updates too and delete any that might be viewed in a negative light.  

Social media is all about creating a positive online presence. That little bit of effort you put into making yourself stand out from the social media crowd could make all the difference.